The latest news stories from the major news organizations in Cebu and Manila in the Philippines, the US and other countries.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October 27, 2010 Major News Stories

Nov.2 regular working day, says Malacañang

November 2, All Soul's Day, will be a regular working day, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa said Tuesday.

Plant boosts power supply for Cebu

MORE power was supplied to the Cebu-Negros-Panay grid with the synchronization of the 200-megawatt coal-fired power plants in Naga, Cebu yesterday.

At least 20 mw was produced by the first unit of Kepco-SPC Power Corp., a move that Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia described as "a giant leap" toward energy sufficiency.

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The coal-fired power plants, whose operation environmentalists have opposed, are expected to be completed next year.

"It could not have come at a more opportune time," Garcia said, as she pointed out the rotating brownouts that power distributors have been adopting to address the generation shortage.

The governor led the synchronization ceremony at the KSPC Power Plant in Barangay Colon in Naga City yesterday morning.

Officials of Korean Power Corp. (Kepco), Salcon Power Corp., the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Department of Energy, among others, were with her.

"Cebu is booming and we have to sustain this growth and the only way to sustain that is by having adequate power," Garcia said. She called the synchronization "a giant leap in our long and challenging journey towards energy sufficiency."

The first unit of Kepco-SPC's circulating fluidized bed combustion (CFBC) is being tested and commissioned. It will be fully operational by February 2011. The second unit will be ready three months later.

"The result of the grid impact study conducted for the project showed that the power plant will not just increase the supply and reserved capacity but will also contribute to the power quality in the grid," Kepco-SPC said in a statement.

The CFBC technology, Kepco-SPC said, is the most environment-friendly coal technology available.

During the site visit, Kepco electrical supervisor Elmer Cimafranca said the CFBC gets rid of the production of chemical components nitrous oxide and sulfur oxide.

As part of efforts to eliminate pollution, the plant is equipped with an electrostatic precipitator and gas emission is monitored constantly.

Governor Garcia, in her speech, said the synchronization of the power plant was "a triumph of reason over the distracting noise of misplaced and misinformed advocacy."

Meanwhile, a proposed itinerary for the court ocular inspection set next month was submitted by Benjamin Cabrido Jr. and Dante Ramos, lawyers for environmentalists.

Their group had filed a petition for an environmental protection order on operators of coal-fired power plants, to stop moving coal combustion residuals or coal ash outside their premises.

The schedule includes inspection of sites of coal ash dumps in the cities of Naga and Toledo and the coal-fired power plants.

Transport group blasts delay in RFID refund

by By Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines – Transport group PISTON has slammed what it calls as an attempt to further delay the refund of the Land Transportation Office's (LTO) shelved Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) project.  

With city officials, planners: Gullas wants talks on LRT

Cebu 1st District Rep. Eduardo R. Gullas yesterday called for a meeting with officials of Cebu City and urban planners to discuss the proposed Light Railway Transit (LRT) in Metro Cebu.

Gullas: Oral argument key to reverse SC ruling on cityhood

Cebu First District Rep. Eduardo Gullas expressed optimism that they will be able to convince the Supreme Court to, once again, reconsider its decision that reverts the status of Carcar, Naga and Bogo City into a municipality.

Businessmen back birth control despite Catholic Church protest

The Philippines' main business groups on Tuesday declared their support for President Benigno Aquino III's plan to promote birth control, despite strong opposition from the powerful Catholic Church.

More privileges for solo parents pushed in Senate

A bill that will provide solo parents a 20 percent discount on milk, diapers and medicines for their infants has been filed at the Senate.

8 mediamen win in barangay polls

Seven media practitioners in Cebu who ran and won last Monday's barangay elections promised that their work with their respective outlets will not prevent them from serving their constituents.

Two jobs at the same time is only a matter of time management and commitment to public service, most of them said.

These media practitioners who came out trusted by their constituents are Ramil Ayuman of ABS-CBN TV Patrol who was reelected barangay captain of Apas this city, David Tumulak of dyAB re-elected as captain of Basak-Pardo this city, Eliodoro Sanchez of Bantay Radyo also re-elected as captain of Busay this city, Garry Lao of The Freeman as number one councilman of Tejero, Allan Mahait of dySS as councilman of Apas, Jeffrey Tumulak of dySS as councilman of Camputhaw, Bernie Cabusao of dyHP as councilman in Malubog and Gabriel Bonjoc of dySS as councilman of Poblacion, Talisay.

Others who ran but lost were Sem Romarate, Elly Bolonos, John Rey Saavedra, Joy Tumulak, Liv Campo, Gerry Auxillo, Norman Mendoza and Vinci Monterde.

Being a barangay captain requires a lot of time as the one elected for this position becomes the chief executive, who is also tasked to handle fiscal administration, development planning, barangay legislation and basic services in the barangay level.

It has been proven and tested that in the case of Ayuman and Dave Tumulak, being media persons had not in any case compromised their duty to their people because while they come to the barangay during the day, they report to their respective media outlets at night.

Ayuman chose to be in the graveyard shift from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. He comes to the barangay hall at 10 a.m.

Tumulak does his media duties during the night from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and report to the barangay hall at 10 a.m.

Both of them however are on call 24 hours and they make sure that their duties to their constituents always come first. Both of them cover the police beat.

"Ang importante gyud is how you manage your time. Wala ra gyud ko'y nakita nga conflict between my two jobs. Public service man gud ni'ng amoa," Ayuman said.

He admitted that being in the media helped his candidacy and is helping him to give more service to his constituents.

"In 2002, when I won as number one councilor, it is probably because I was known by the people through my job. When you are in the media, ang perception man gud sa mga tawo is you are service-oriented and credible," Ayuman added.

Lao, who joined the government in 2007, said that the fact he was elected from number six councilor to number one now, shows that he was able to satisfy his constituents while working as full-time news writer.

"I don't have to choose between my job as a media practitioner and as a councilman because naa ra man gyud na sa time management," Lao said.

The Journalists Code of Ethics of their respective companies allows them to run in the barangay election because as barangay politicians, they are non-partisan, but they have to make sure that their position will not cause a conflict of interest with their work, then they will have to choose which one to keep.

Rama assures support for all elected barangay officials regardless of affiliation

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama assured all elected barangay officials that they will get equal support from his administration regardless of their affiliation.

15 of 27 Mandaue chiefs reelected

FIFTEEN of Mandaue City's 27 barangays will have the same village chiefs and the other 12 will get new ones.

Six of the 12 challenged the incumbent barangay captains.

Six of the 12 challenged the incumbent barangay captains.

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The other six took over the incumbent who could not get elected to the same post because of term limits.

One of the new barangay captains is the executive secretary of Mayor Jonas Cortes.

Ernie Manatad, 41, won over Subangdaku Barangay Captain Walter Dy.

Subangdaku is one of Mandaue's most populated and top-earning barangays.

Cortes said Manatad's victory made him happy and sad at the same time.

The mayor said without Manatad to help him carry out his daily appointments and tasks as mayor, he feels like a bird whose wings had been clipped.

But he added that with Manatad now barangay captain of Subangdaku, he is assured of a wider support base in the area and can pledge more assistance to the community.

"Mura kog nabalian og pako apan mas nindot kung si Ernie nay capitan, kay makapadagayday na ta og mejores sa Subangdaku," Cortes said.

Manatad has been working with Cortes for 10 years, starting out as a legislative assistant when Cortes was still a city councilor.

Manatad said his exposure to city legislation and administration allowed him to get familiarized with governance and to meet and know people.

Aside from Manatad, the others who defeated the incumbent barangay captains are Mylene Sanchez of Alang-Alang, Paterno Cabatingan of Casili, Malaquias Soco of Paknaan, Felix Suico of Tabok and Raul Cabahug of Looc.

Raul Cabahug, a former city councilor, got back the post of barangay captain from his elder brother, Cesar. A sister, Letecia Cabahug-Boholst, ran against them.

Six barangays saw the incumbent barangay captains, whose three terms were due, and councilors swapping positions.

In Opao, Basilisa Ouano-Icalina replaced Barangay Captain Joy Ouano; Nelson Rubio replaced Zaldy Lumapas in Umapad; Arnolfo Capacite replaced Jesus Neri in Guizo; Celma Sanchez replaced Vicente Domasian in Cambaro; Oscar del Castillo replaced Ben Basiga in Casuntingan; and Francis del Castillo Tan replaced Estone Dabon in Maguikay.

Sitting village captains in Talisay spank rivals

Incumbent barangay captains in Talisay City still ruled last Monday's synchronized barangay and sangguniang kabataan (SK) elections, with 11 of them clinching their old posts.

Son of city Councilor Dennis Basillote, Charles, won his second term as barangay chief of Dumlog, and his younger brother Franklin was declared as the winning SK chairman of the same barangay.

Incumbent barangay chiefs Jose Juarez of Tapul and Manuel Cabriana of Tabunok ran unopposed in their respective barangays. Among the incumbent barangay chiefs who won in last Monday's polls were: Antonio Cabrera Jr. of barangay San Roque, Dario Villaver (Mohon),Teodoro Belleza (Poblacion), Joel Orbiso (Jaclupan), Perla Cabanes (Tanke), Raul Cabañero (Bulacao), Delia Ybañez (Lawaan III) and Marlowe Dagohoy (Biasong). Challenger Victor Cabatas (Maghaway) also won.

However, two re-electionist barangay chiefs - Reynaldo Sedentario of barangay Linao and Saturnino Navecilla - did not do well as their 11 counterparts.

Sedentario lost to Fe Ylanan, wife of City Councilor Val Ylanan, who he earlier welcomed in his party as one of his seven council members but junked at the last minute.

Challenged, Ylanan, who was appointed as a new member of the council after her husband vacated his post, decided to contest Sedentario, and won by a 501 vote margin. Ylanan's son Val Joseph was also elected as SK chairman.

First-term Navecilla, meanwhile, was toppled from power by Luciano Cabingatan Jr.

Meanwhile, some of those who ran in the May elections and failed were fortunate last Monday. 

Doroteo Emit, for one, is now the incoming Pooc barangay chief. Emit, a Liberal Party candidate last May, was elected as number 11 in the city council.

His party-mates like Ricky Tabay was also elected as barangay councilman in Poblacion, the same also with Consul Lee (barangay councilman of Lawaan II) and Aldin Diaz in Dumlog.

Family members of city council members got also elected last Monday.

Son of former City councilor Arturo Bas, now city public information officer, Marc Ferdinand Bas, won as barangay chief of Lagtang. Wife of Vice Mayor Alan Bucao, Marieta, also won as barangay chief of San Isidro, defeating Regino Sanchez, a former barangay chief, by a 313 vote margin. Bucao's son Gabrielle Marc Alan was also proclaimed as the newly elected SK chairman, winning over Synthia Caballero, daughter of minority City Councilor Danilo Caballero, by 19 votes. Maria Wina Alesna, wife of city Councilor Edward, is also the newly elected barangay council member of Poblacion. Minority City Councilor Romeo Villarante's brother Edmundo was also elected as member of Poblacion barangay council.

Meanwhile, outgoing Pooc barangay chairman and Association of Barangay Councils president Osmundo Manreal Jr. and Cansojong SK chairman and SK Federation president April Marie Cabigas, both are ex-officio members of the city council, also won as number one and seven barangay council members, respectively, in their respective barangays.

In barangay Lawaan I, mediaman Joy Tumulak, who assumed office last July following the death of barangay chief Jerson Laceda, was defeated by Ronald Lastimosa by 406 votes. Lawaan II has a new barangay chief, too, by the name of Pelonio Buenaventura. Manipis also elected Renato Manayon as its new chairman. Ma. Catherine Laurente, wife of outgoing barangay chief Joselito, was defeated by 74 votes.

Candulawan also elected Virgilio Bacalso as its new chief while Cansojong welcomed its former barangay chief Nicasio Hermosa to become its incoming chairman. Hermosa defeated businessman Resty Seville by 1,178 votes.

Meanwhile, opposition City Councilor Romeo Villarante said he is positive their party will get the ABC and SKF presidencies, considering that they have the numbers now.

Villarante said he believes that 12 of the 22 barangay captains elected are from the opposition, while majority of the newly elected SK chairmen are also from their side. Presently, the two ex-officio members - Manreal and Cabigas are from the administration.

Presently, there are only three members of the opposition, namely, Villarante, Caballero, and Ylanan, and if Villarante's belief were to come true, they would be then five in the council. They have yet to pick their candidates for the elections of the ABC and SKF however, he said.

"If that happens, they (the administration) would no longer get the two-thirds of the votes," said Villarante.

Family ties pay off in Talisay polls

AT least 11 of 22 incumbent village chiefs won reelection in last Monday's elections in Talisay City.

Two sealed their victory even before the elections were held, as they ran unopposed. They are Barangay Captains Manuel Cabriana of Tabunok and Jose Juarez of the mountain village of Tapul.

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The rest of the reelected captains are Marlowe Dagohoy of Biasong, Dario Villaver of Mohon, Teodoro Belleza of Poblacion, Joel Orbiso of Jaclupan, Perla Cabanes of Tanke, Rene Cabañero of Bulacao, Delia Ybañez of Lawaan 3, Charles Basillote of Dumlog and Antonio Cabrera Jr. of San Roque.

Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Alan Bucao and opposition Councilor Val Ylanan now have something in common, as a result of the elections.

Their spouses won as barangay captains, in both cases defeating former barangay chiefs in San Isidro and Linao.

Marietta Bucao won 2,449 votes against Regino Sanchez, a former San Isidro barangay chairman, who got 2,392.

Ofelia Ylanan defeated a former political ally, Linao Barangay Captain Reynaldo Sedentario, as she got 1,292 votes against the latter's 791.

Not only that, their sons—Gabrielle Marc Alan Bucao and Val Joseph Ylanan—were elected too as Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officers in their barangays.

It was not clear, though, if these two young leaders would be vying for the SK Federation presidency and a seat in the city council, where they can join their fathers.

Among the elected newcomers is Doroteo Emit, who is now barangay captain-elect of Barangay Pooc, with 1,586 votes.

In the May 10 polls, Emit, a businessman, ran under the Liberal Party for city councilor but lost. He ranked 11th in the race for the 10-seat city council.

Association of Barangay Councils President Osmundo Manreal Jr., who is on his last term as Pooc village head, won as number one barangay councilor.

March Ferdinand Bas, son of former city councilor and now City Hall spokesman Arturo Bas, won as the new barangay captain of Lagtang.

Aberdovey Chartz Belleza, son of former vice mayor Aberdovey Belleza and ex-councilor Shirley Belleza, got elected as number one councilor of Barangay Mohon.

In Lapu-Lapu: Out of 30, only six aspirants for village chief beat incumbents

Twenty-four incumbent village chiefs in Lapu-Lapu City, identified with the camp of Lone District of Lapu-lapu City Rep. Arturo Radaza and his wife Mayor Paz Radaza, won in the October 25 elections.

On the other hand, the barangay captains belonging to the opposition who won are Re-megio Oyao of Agus, Isabelito Darnayla of Basak, Nestor Paypa of Canjulao, Edgardo Bensi of Calawisan, Joselito Tibon of Suba Basbas, and Nelson Milan Colico of Sabang.

Defeated mayoralty aspirtant Isabelito Darnayla who once served as barangay captain of Basak returned to his old post.

Darnayla defeated incumbent Basak barangay captain Lolita Berdin, a close supporter of the Radazas and wife of former Lapu-Lapu City Councilor Alley Berdin.

Some of the winning barangay captains are identified with former city councilor and defeated mayoralty aspirant Junard "Ahong" Chan.

Pajo Barangay Captain Leo Mercado, the incumbent president of the Association of Barangay Councils, is expected to retain his post.

321 ballot boxes remain unclaimed

A day after the elections and winners were proclaimed, 321 of the 480 ballot boxes remained at the Cebu Provincial Treasurer's Office, unclaimed.

Cleofe Gonzaga, administrative officer and officer-in-charge of the Provincial Treasurer Office, said yesterday that it was already too late for the election officers of the towns to claim these from the Provincial Capitol.

"Kanang mga ballot boxes gi-request na sya sa mga municipal treasurer but wala nila kuhaa kay tungod ila na lang gigamit ang karaan nga ballot boxes nga naa sa ilang munisipyo," Gonzaga explained. (They ended up using the old ballot boxes stored in their municipal halls.)

Although many election officers sent them requests for ballot boxes, only the election officers of the island town of Sta. Fe in Bantayan and the southern town of Argao claimed their ballot boxes from the Capitol.

Poll officers had complained of the delay in the arrival of election supplies from the Central Office.

In fact, Cebu Provincial Election Officer Lionel Marco Castillano said, it was the first time they encountered receiving the official ballots only a day before the elections.

Some had to make improvised ballots. The delay in the delivery of supplies from Manila not only inconvenienced the board of election inspectors but also the voters, as many precincts did not open at 7 a.m. as scheduled.

Gonzaga and many other officials considered the elections messy, though generally peaceful, because of the delay of the ballot boxes, official ballots for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan, election returns forms, indelible ink, paper and metal seals and others.

Gonzaga said that the election-related task of the Provincial Treasurer's Office ended yesterday.

"The inventory of the election paraphernalia is the task of the municipal treasurer and we will not interfere with it," said Gonzaga.

As of now, Gonzaga said, they can breathe a sigh of relief as their task ended.

They just have to find a place to store the unclaimed ballot boxes.

Punta Engaño poll violence: Cop to face gun ban, illegal possession charges

The police officer who claimed to have been fired upon by the barangay tanods of Punta Engaño Monday dawn was placed under arrest and will be charged for violation of the gun ban and illegal possession of firearms.

Policeman in Engaño shootout says he's glad he survived, will face consequences

HE'S glad he is alive. "God is so kind to me," said PO3 Diogenes Carillo, who survived a shootout with barangay tanods in the early hours of Monday in Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City. "I'm not going to get killed yet."

39 liquor ban violators charged

A total of 39 persons have been charged for violation of the liquor ban during last Monday's barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

Aquino holds Comelec liable for poll woes

Gustong panagutin ni Pangulong Aquino ang Comelec dahil sa mga problema at aberya sa barangay at SK elections. Iimbestigahan na ng Comelec ang dahilan ng pagkakaantala sa pagdala ng election paraphernalia gayundin ang sinasabing posibleng pananabotahe ng ilang taga-Comelec para maantala ang halalan.

Comelec probes delays in delivery of poll materials

by By Sheryll Mundo, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has formed a factfinding body to investigate the cause of delays in the delivery of election paraphernalia to polling precincts Monday.

Comelec probe chief lists possible reasons for poll delays

MANILA, Philippines - The head of a Commission on Elections (Comelec) special committee has enumerated several reasons for the the delays in the recent barangay elections. 

According to Commissioner Armando Velasco, the head of the 7-member fact-finding committee, one reason for the delay was the short period for the preparations for the barangay election itself. 

Velasco said in the previous months, they had to attend several hearings in Congress on the proposal to postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

Because of this, the poll body decided not to print the ballots early because they were unsure whether or not the elections would push through. 

Velasco explained that ballot printing usually takes 45 days as required by the National Printing Office (NPO). 

It was only when President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III pushed for the holding of the elections that Comelec started preparing for the polls. 

Preparations began in the first week of September, leaving the Comelec with only one month to get everything ready instead of the usual 6 months. Only 15 days were allotted for the NPO to print the ballots.

But Velasco is also pointing to another reason for the delay in the delivery of election materials.

He is blaming employees who may have sabotaged the deliveries.

Commissioner Rene Sarmiento also believes in the same thing.

He said, the Comelec's packing and shipping committee may have something to do with the delay after the poll body decided to use the services of private forwarding companies instead of the committee. 

"Because if you resort to personnel deliveries of these election paraphernalias kahit papaano ay  kikita ang personal ng packing and shipping committee but if you entrust it to forwarding then walang kikitain iyong magdadala," said Sarmiento.

Bidding for the ballot boxes was also late. Sarmiento said, they were unable to immediately fill in the posts in the new Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) formed after the old BAC was suspended because of the ballot secrecy folder issue. Sarmiento said nobody wanted to be appointed to the BAC. 

Lawyer Ferdinand Rafanan, who still heads the new BAC, said that despite the late order for the ballot boxes and services of forwarders, they were still able to hold the biddings and even managed to save money. For example, the budget for forwarders was P230 million but the BAC got the contract for only P67 million, he said.

Still, the fact finding committee will still probe the BAC, as well as the packing and shipping committee, the NPO, and the four forwarding agencies.

The members of the probe body include Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez, Assistant Regional Election Director Atty. Romeo Fortes, Comelec clerk of court Atty. Josephine dela Cruz, Zambales provincial election supervisor Atty. Lydia Pangilinan, director of Comelec's electoral contest and adjudications department Betty Pesana, and a representative from the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting. 

Rampant vote buying should justify abolition of SK—legislators

Incidents of vote buying and vote selling during Monday's youth council (Sangguniang Kabataan) elections should justify the proposal for the abolition of the SK, several lawmakers said.

Senators chastise Palace for not heeding postponement calls

Senators on Tuesday said Malacañang should have heeded Congress' plea to postpone the village and youth polls because the Commission on Elections was ill-prepared to hold another election so soon after the May national polls.

DILG: Multi-termers should have been disqualified long ago

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) could have prevented confusion if it had disqualified multi-termers prior to the barangay elections, Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo said Tuesday.

Comelec defers proclamation of village bets exceeding term limits

(UPDATE) The Commission on Elections (Comelec) decided on Tuesday to defer by six months the proclamation of barangay (village) candidates who managed to win a fourth or even fifth consecutive term in violation of the election law's three-term limit.

Comelec commissioner Lucenito Tagle said that the winning barangay kagawad (village councilor) who had the highest vote would temporarily act as barangay chairman, pending resolution of the disqualification case against the candidate who exceeded the term limit.

"With respect to the multiple termers... we have already a resolution to suspend their proclamation for six months. While disqualification cases are being resolved, the first kagawad will be the acting barangay chair," Tagle said.

"Once this has been resolved, that's the time this barangay chair will be allowed to sit or not," he added.

Commissioner Armando Velasco said that the Comelec could not reject outright the certificates of candidacy (CoCs) of barangay officials already on their third or fourth term because the election officials in the regional offices only had the "ministerial duty" to receive them.

"The Omnibus Election Code states that it is the ministerial duty of the Comelec to accept CoCs...the law is very clear.....that it is a ministerial duty," Velasco said.

"That is the reason why their proclamation [was deferred] pending the resolution of these [disqualification] cases," he added.

Velasco said that the Comelec has ordered its law department to file the disqualification cases against those who exceeded term limits.

"Before, we had to wait for a complainant," Velasco said. "Now, the Comelec made initiative to moto proprio file the cases."

"But for purposes of due process, they are not disqualified immediately without due notice and hearing," he added.

Poll violence up; 80% in non-'hotspots'—PNP

(UPDATE 2) The Philippine National Police reported an increase in the number of election-related incidents on October 25, during the village and youth council elections, majority of which occurred in areas that were not considered as election "hotspots."

PNP: Violent incidents in Oct 25 polls climb to 78

It might be too early to say that the 2010 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections were more peaceful than in 2007 as the number of violent incidents in this year's polls climbed up to 78.

5 killed in Abra poll violence

by by Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News
BAGUED, Philippines – Five people have died while 11 others were injured in election-related violence in Abra province, police said Tuesday.

Maguindanao municipality poll standoff continues

Hindi pa din natuloy ang barangay at SK elections sa bayan ng Datu Unsay sa Maguindanao ngayong araw. Nakabarikada pa rin kasi ang mga nagpoprotestang residente sa labas ng kanilang munisipyo. Banta ng mga residente, hindi sila aalis hanggang hindi ibinabalik ng Comelec sa listahan ng kandidato ang mga kandidato ng oposisyon sa 8 barangay.

Military still on red alert—AFP

The military remains on red-alert status despite the end of the barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (youth council) elections for most parts of the country following the departure of President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III for Vietnam Tuesday morning, the Armed Forces said.

Neri set to testify in Abalos graft trial

MANILA, Philippines – Former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri is set to testify on Wednesday in the graft trial of former Commission on Election (Comelec) Chairman Benjamin Abalos in connection with the scrapped US$329 million ZTE-National Broadband Network (NBN) deal. 

SC stands pat on plagiarism ruling: spokesman

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court is standing pat on its decision absolving Supreme Court Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo after he was accused of plagiarizing several portions of his ponencia on the Vinuya, et al. vs. Executive Secretary case.

Holding UP Law in contempt is a grave mistake - int'l law experts

Two internationally prominent foreign law professors whose joint work was allegedly plagiarized by a Philippine Supreme Court justice have taken up the cudgels for the 37 law professors of the University of the Philippines who are risking serious sanctions for criticizing the supposed plagiarism.

SC Justice faces another accusation of plagiarism

Supreme Court Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo, who was recently exonerated by his colleagues from allegations that he plagiarized portions of a ruling on wartime comfort women, may have copied portions of his ruling about the party-list group Ang Ladlad from at least three sources.

Aquino's Vietnam trip to cost P11.3 million

by By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News
HANOI, Vietnam - Malacañang is spending around P11.3 million for President Benigno Aquino III's five-day trip to Vietnam for the 17th Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) Summit, according to Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr.

Aquino impressed by Vietnam stride in rice production

President Aquino said Tuesday the Philippines has much to learn from Vietnam when it comes to rice production, which the Vietnamese have mastered from techniques learned from the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines.

Aquino calls for peaceful sharing of Spratly Islands' resources

HANOI, Vietnam—President Aquino intends to raise the issue about the ongoing dispute on the resource-rich Spratly Islands during his visit to this country, and plans to push for a formal plan on how to share the resources in the area.

Palace: VFA review likely to focus on custody

by By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines  - Malacañang said the review of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) will likely focus on the custody over American soldiers who will be accused of violating Philippine laws within the country.

Peace talks with Communists may resume January

The government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) are preparing for preliminary talks in Oslo, Norway, to pave the way for the formal resumption of peace negotiations by January or February.

AFP: We will respect Aquino's decision on Morong 43

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) declared yesterday that it will respect any decision from President Benigno Aquino III regarding the so-called Morong 43, as long as it is "for the benefit of the majority."

Approved applicants for dental technologists, dental hygienists announced

MANILA, Philippines - The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announced Tuesday that 406 Dental Technologists and 60 Dental Hygienists applicants were approved for registration without examination by the Board of Dentistry in Manila this October 2010.

PRC: 67 new fisheries technologists

MANILA, Philippines - The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announced Tuesday that 67 out of 228 passed the Fisheries Technologist Licensure Examination given by the Board of Fisheries in Manila, Davao and Iloilo this October 2010.

Police out to get Bar blast perpetrator this week

by By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Justice is giving the suspect in the post-2010 bar examinations blast last September 26 up to this week to voluntarily surrender, or face arrest.

Suspect in bar-exams blast placed on BI watchlist

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima ordered the Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday to put a man on its watchlist for his alleged role in the September 26 bar-exams explosion.

Vice-mayor won't take DNA test in rape case

by By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - South Upi, Maguindanao Vice-Mayor Jordan Ibrahim has not submitted himself to DNA testing in connection to the rape of volunteer nurse, "Florence",  last September 25.

'Extortionists involved in Cotabato bus blast'

MANILA, Philippines - Extortionists and not terror groups are to blame for last week's bus bombing that killed 10 people in Matalam, North Cotabato, a military spokesman said Tuesday.

Once again, Manila court defers arraignment of Mendoza's brother

The Manila Metropolitan Trial Court (MMTC) again postponed the arraignment of the brother of slain hostage taker former Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza.

$1: P43.110

$1: P43.110 (P43.30)

Euro 1: P60.5011

Indonesia tsunami sweeps away 10 villages: disaster official

by Agence France-Presse
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Ten villages on a remote island chain in Indonesia have been swept away by a tsunami triggered by a powerful undersea earthquake, a disaster official said Tuesday.

At least 160 missing after tsunami hits Indonesia

by Reuters
JAKARTA, Indonesia - At least 160 people, mostly women and children, are missing from an Indonesian village that was pounded by an enormous wave after an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra caused a local tsunami, officials said on Tuesday.

Iraq court sentences Tareq Aziz to death: state TV

by Agence France-Presse
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq's supreme criminal court sentenced former deputy prime minister Tareq Aziz to death on Tuesday, state television reported, the first death sentence handed down against the longtime international face of the Saddam Hussein regime.

US concern as Karzai admits getting 'bags of cash' from Iran

by by Sardar Ahmad, Agence France-Presse
KABUL, Afghanistan - The White House voiced its concern about Iran's "negative influence" on Afghanistan after President Hamid Karzai admitted receiving bags of cash from Washington's archfoe Tehran.

Pacquiao finally on fire—Roach

Celebrated trainer Freddie Roach can now pocket his worry beads.

After enduring an uninspiring training camp in the Philippines, Roach and pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao returned to the familiar confines of Wild Card Gym in Hollywood Saturday night.

The four-time Trainer of the Year said his prized ward was more focused with his buildup Monday, three weeks ahead of his November 13 showdown with Antonio Margarito.

Quoting Roach, ABS-CBN's Dyan Castillejo posted on Twitter on Tuesday: "He's (Pacquiao) on fire today."

Pacquiao will train for two weeks at Wild Card before heading for Texas to battle Margarito for the vacant WBC super welterweight title at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

On Sunday, Roach poured out his sentiments to's Steve Kim.

"The thing is, there were just too many distractions," said Roach. "So really, we didn't have a bad training camp; [Pacquiao] just wasn't very consistent. Every Sunday driving to Manila, a six-hour drive each way, it's draining on the fighter. Overall, I think it's the worst training camp we ever had, yes."

Pacquiao wears new hat: basketball coach

MANILA, Philippines – Already known as a 7-division champion boxer, promoter, businessman, singer, and politician, the Philippines' Manny Pacquiao wore another hat following his arrival in the US over the weekend.

Banal's Nicaraguan foe says he's ready

MANILA, Philippines – Nicaragua's Luis Alberto Perez is rather confident to face Cebu's AJ "Bazooka" Banal in their upcoming bout this Saturday.

Lone winner bags P152-M in PCSO Super Lotto 6/49 draw

A single winner bagged the P152 million jackpot prize in the "Super Lotto 6/49" draw of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Tuesday night, according to the PCSO website.

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